Free time while being a pilot


New Member
I have heard a lot about how much free time pilots have. Though I love flying, I also would like to have my own business on the side for extra income. I was wondering how realistic it is to have a side business. Are there a lot of other pilots who have side jobs?
Depends on the type of flying...

I'd like to get a part-time job just for some extra $$$, but with my current real job, it would be difficult. Trips come up with a week's notice (sometimes more, sometimes less)- not really enough to "sign off" from a part-time job for three days or whatever. I imagine an employer would get sick of that quick. I may try substitute teaching sometime though, if I get *really* bored sitting around in between trips.

Edit: Maybe I should read posts more thoroughly, I didn't realize you were talking about owning a business. That would indeed be difficult.
Free time? Hmm, my husband is in his 5th year with Delta and he has 0 free time. Back on reserve, junior resersve at that.

Basically, the more senior you are, the better schedule you can bid, and the more 'free time' you'll have. While you're junior you'll have very little choice about when you'll be working. Also, will you be living at your base or commuting? Commuting can really eat in to your 'free time'. Whether or not you will have the time to run a business depends on the kind of business you want to run! If it's a business where you need to be on site or if it's a very hands-on kind of business, it can be very difficult. If it's a business that you can operate with phone calls and internet access, it will be easier, as you can have a cell phone and laptop with you on the road.
Thanks. I would be living in Chicago and commuting to CVG. I currently have an investment fund that I run. Since it's investing, I only need a cell phone and a computer with internet. Does your husband have a lot of down time, i.e. maybe not free time at home but down time in airports waiting for flights, etc?
Ha! That's the same commute my husband does. We live in the NW suburbs, and he's based in CVG. Commuting has become a real pain. Half the flights are RJs, (oversold RJs), and they've cut out the 6 am flight, so it makes morning show times tough. We have relatives in IND, so when he has short call he drives to Indy and sits short call there (it's an hour and 45 min drive). About the only good thing about an ORD-CVG commute is that if you really have to, you can drive.
As for down time, that's pretty hit or miss. Some months the trips he gets he sits in hotels for 19 hours bored off his butt, and then other trips he's on duty 14 hours a day with 10 hours in the hotel! All in all though, knowing his schedules, past a present (and from my own 7 years flying) investing would be totally do-able as a side business.
What happens if your husband is not able to make it to CVG on time because all the flights are oversold? Also, can't he jump on another airline?
Are you setting your sights on Comair? If you really want to be an airline pilot, setting your sights on one airline is very short sighted. In today's industry, you might be waiting a very long time for that "one" airline.

If you can't get to work because of flights, you better hope the airline you work for has a commuter clause in it's contract. If not, you'll need to call in sick, and if that happens too many times you'll be looking for new employment.

Yes, you can jumpseat on other carriers, provided that they have a seat in the back for you. Keep in mind that a great number of pilots commute and jumpseat space is limited. Commuting to and from work can take up 1 full day each way.. even for short commutes. Your 3 days in a row off can very easily turn into 1 day at home.
Well right now I'm on reserve, and we have lots of reserves this month, so I haven't had too difficult a schedule. There was a point last month and part of this month that I flew 8 flights in 14 days! I guess it just depends... I have had both extremes. Really busy, or really bored. Right now I don't think I could do a second job though with only 11 hard days off (and 3 which are in VEGAS!!!)
What happens if your husband is not able to make it to CVG on time because all the flights are oversold? Also, can't he jump on another airline?

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He checks loads/weather the night before, and if it looks bad, he drives. It's 5 hours from our house to the employee lot. (Depending on traffic, he takes either the skyway or 80/94.)

Jumpseats are an option, but you can't rely on them, especially when going to work. He has taken Eagle home a few times. The last Delta flight leaves at 1850, and Eagle has a 2030 departure, it's nice to have that option. Also ACA has a 2130 departure to MDW, so if all else fails, I pack up the baby and we road trip down to the south side.

I hate listening to him whine about his commute though, my commute from IND to LGA/JFK was MUCH worse! (We lived in IND before we bought our house in ORD.) And I didn't have the option of driving or other airline flight attendant jumpseats!
Yup, 1 hour 50 minute commute to DFW is now so horrible, a 4 hour flight to ATL looks mega-nifty because I'm able to 'pre-book' a jumpseat on my own airline.

I am so NOT looking forward to the PHX/DFW commute this holiday season. More gray hairs I see.
MQAAord you said that your husband is a Delta pilot? Is he a Captain or Co pilot and what kinda equipment does he fly.

Also before you got furloughed
what airline did you fly for (American I believe).And what kinda equipment did you fly?

Everett Washington
My guy is a MD88 FO in CVG. He was hired to the panel (FE) of the 727 based in NYC in Oct of 98, but soon got a transfer to CVG, and got his 88 bid a couple months later.

I was Eagle for almost 6 years, where I worked the Saab 340's (least often, and my least favorite), the ATR 42s & 72s (my absolute favorite airplane of all time) and the EMB 135s & 145s (didn't much care for those either). I transfered to mainline American Airlines in April of 2001, where I was qualified on the F-100, MD-80, 727, 737, 757, 767 (200 & 300). I've only flown a total of 12 months with AA (6 months in ORD before Sep 11, then I was furloughed for the first time. I was recalled, displaced to LGA/JFK where I spent the summer of 2002, April-Sep, then I was furloughed again).
Any idea when your transfer to Hotlanta will take effect, Doug?

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I was hoping before the holiday season, but it looks like sometime next year.

My commute is going to suck suck suck the rest of the year.
Thanks fer the info MQAAord I really appreciated it.

Does your husband also fly the MD-90's like Doug does (until he moves to KATL)

Hearing about lots of other pilots talk about jump seating to work makes me love my schedual even more. My airline buys me a round trip ticket to the city I'll be flying out of for the next 2 weeks, and the other 2 weeks I'm off, at home, and I don't have to answer the phone.

I love it.

2 weeks on, 2 weeks off, with a confimed ticket to and from. Next months I'll have four weeks off in a row.
No, there's no MD-90s based in CVG, so he hasn't done the 90 differences training. Should he ever transfer to DFW (or any other base where there are MD-90s based) he would have to complete the differences program. We had similar differences programs for our ATR 42/72s and EMB 135&145s.
Cool,cool the MD-88/90 are very nice aircraft. I wouldn't mind starting out on it when I become a professional pilot.

Do you know what kinda aircraft that your hubands wants to fly after the MD-88?